Monday, August 26th, 2019

I don’t know if Assembly Democrats understand the word “recuse”


For giggles, I watched on Wisconsin Eye the “debate” in the state Assembly from Wednesday night about the campaign finance reform law changes. By now everyone is aware the Democrats took turns claiming they were recusing themselves. However, if they were seriously recusing themselves, they shouldn’t have spoken against the bill, yet several of them took the opportunity to do just that. For example, state Rep Robb Kahl compared the indexing of the campaign contribution limits to indexing the gas tax. And then there was State Rep La Tonya Johnson, who demonstrated the decorum and maturity of the Democratic side of the aisle when she complained multiple times the bill and other forthcoming bills “suck.”

Of course, it’s ridiculous that the Democrats claimed they were recusing themselves because of ethical concerns. This is the same party that refused to expel multiple intoxicated driving offender State Rep Jeff Woods, and then busted him out of jail to get him to vote on union contracts that would have led to increased campaign contributions for them. This is the same party that protects State Rep Gordon Hintz, who once threatened a female colleague and was also busted in a prostitution sting. If they had any sense of honor, every Democrat in the state Assembly would recuse themselves from running for re-election.

Let’s also point out that the Democrats had no problem with the old state elections board changing campaign law midstream against Congressman Mark Green when he challenged Governor Jim Doyle. Nor do Democrats have any concern about the personal advantages they have gained by the current structure and makeup of the GAB and none of them were willing to recuse themselves on that vote.

And as Assembly Speaker Robin Vos pointed out, three Democrats voted on the bill when it was in committee but suddenly decided they couldn’t vote on the bill when it was on the floor.

But aside from that, as state Rep Bob Kulp pointed out, there is no personal benefit because the law is the same for both sides. There is no advantage because the law equally affects the incumbent and the challenger.

All of this puts into context the best line of the night which came from Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (at 1:03:45) to Minority Leader Peter Barca, “You don’t get to speak again. You’ve already recused yourself. (laughter) You’re done!”

That of course caused Barca to go into meltdown mode.

Vos had one other point that bears mentioning, and it would have served the Democrats to actually pay attention. under Barca the Democrats refused to offer any amendments to the last budget. They lost even more seats and the Republicans now hold an astonishing 63 seats.

My advice to the Republicans is strip Wisconsin Eye of the monopoly on their footage. Let it be used by private news organizations, political campaigns and issue advocacy groups. A few video clips of Barca and the ridiculous Democrats in the Assembly that keep him as leader and Republicans will start taking seats in Madison.

In the meantime, I’m looking forward to watching state Rep Christine Sinicki recuse herself on any bills regarding penalties for failing to pay fines and traffic citations.



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